1 April 2000 
You can find the now-infamous April 1 "News" page here.  
20 March 2000

Tarantula Train 
(Tarantula Train) It's not strictly steam, and you've probably heard some of it already, but the news gets worse for the Tarantula Train.

As reported earlier (see the 2000 and the 1999 archives), the Fort Worth tourist train, taken over by Coe Sun in April 1999, has been having its problems. After Coe installed Dennis Larson as General Manager, employees pay and benefits were cut; this month the last qualified engineer employed by Coe Sun resigned, leaving the operation dependent on crews provided by landlord Fort Worth and Western. The operation's steam locomotive, ex-SP 4-6-0 2248, has been sidelined for two months now with no work performed on its annual inspection, and rumors have it up for sale. The FRA has noted numerous rules and safety violations in recent months.

Now comes news of a head-on collision last Wednesday, 22 March. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the train, being pulled by an EMD F-unit running in reverse, was being operated by Larson, with help from someone not employed by either FW&W or Tarantula Train. The report indicates that there was a FW&W pilot in the cab, but no radio. The Passenger train collided with a freight moving in reverse at a combined speed of approximately 10mph. After allowing the Tarantula train to resume operation on Thursday, FRA reversed itself and shut down the train when reports of Larson operating the train surfaced.

The immeidate problem appears to be that Larson is not a licensed engineer, though no one at FW&W or Coe is commenting. But the larger issue - driving off your employees, creating an environment where FRA violations are common, need to be addressed. There don't appear to be any serious injuries resulting from the collision, but Coe and Larson simply got lucky this time. Coe and Larson need to clean up their act and hire qualified staff before being allowed to run again.  
13 March 2000

Little River Locomotive 
("ET&WNC 15") The homely 0-4-0 destined to become "East Tennessee & Western North Carolina RR No. 15" is finally in the Johnson City shop for overhaul. Between the snow and rain, it took Ken "Daddy Rabbit" Riddle of Little River Locomotive Co. longer than expected to get the ex-Lehigh Stone engine (see the archive), but it finally happened last Thursday.  No. 799 gets a lift at the Doe River Gorge camp.  Photo by Ken Riddle.  Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.   
I highly recommend looking through Ken's very entertaining description of the move. If nothing else, the mental image of "Pamela Sue Anderson dancing naked waving a Confederate flag" will make the visit worthwhile - when it comes to "El Tweetsie," the steam world's gain is the storytelling world's loss. And keep the middle weekend of October clear on your calendar - there's gonna be coal smoke over Carter County for the 50th anniversary of Tweetsie's last run. (Thanks to Ken Riddle.)  
13 March 2000

Mid-Continent Railway Museum 
(ex-LS&I 2-8-0 22, ex-WC&C 4-6-0 1) In addition to the fleet of steam locotives owned by this museum, there are two privately-owned locomotives undergoing overhaul here as well. Both are owned by Ray Burmaster: Western Coal & Coke 4-6-0 1 (Montreal 53632, 1913) and ex-Lake Superior & Ishpeming 2-8-0 22 (ALCO 46944, 1910).  Western Coal & Coke 1 at North Freedom, WI.  Photo by Jeff Terry.  Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.   
No. 1 was a regular performer at MCRM during the 1980s, last operating in 1993, and is getting flue sheets and boiler patches.    
LS&I 22 at North Freedom, WI.  Photo by Jeff Terry.  Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.   
No. 22, which ran on the Marquette & Huron Mountain tourist line in the 1970s, is closer to completion, and may be operable this year, though 2001 is a more likely target date. (Thanks to Jeff Terry.)  
9 March 2000

Roaring Camp & Big Trees Ry. 
(0-4-2T "Kahuku") After a two decade hiatus, 1897 Baldwin Plantation 0-4-2T "Kahuku" has returned to service at the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad in Felton/Santa Cruz County, California.

"Kahuku" was built in 1897 for the Kahuku Plantation Co. on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. After a career in the sugar fields, it was brought to San Francisco in 1950 and put on display at the Sutro Museum. In the mid 1960's F. Norman Clark, founder of the Roaring Camp Railroad, purchased the locomotive.

"Kahuku" was occasionally used to operate short shuttle trips from Felton Station to Roaring Camp, but in 1974-75 it was the only steam power available, and during those 2 years "Kahuku" double-headed with ex-D&RGW 50, formerly the Durango diesel switcher, on tourist trains. As a result of heavy use, both locomotives were soon out of service.

Since 1995, slow efforts to return the engine to service have been made, with the result that last Friday "Kahuku" was fired up again. A test run with a coach discovered no major problems, and the locomotive is back in the shop for final adjustments. It won't be the major power up to Bear Mountain, but will get a workout in the Felton area from time to time. (Thanks to Jeff Badger.)  
8 March 2000

D. F. Barnhardt Auctions 
(ex-C&O 4-8-4 614) I received the following press release from Ross Rowland yesterday, and am printing it in its entirety here:

"On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am very pleased to announce that we have today executed an agreement with D. F. Barnhardt & Associates to sell at auction our magnificent steam locomotive C&O #614.

The Decision to sell her was made after lengthy and in-depth consideration of all options. As you may be aware, my associates and I were very fortunate to have won the contract with Rail America to be the designated operator of the new passenger tourist service on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, through a new company called Pacific Wilderness Railway Co. Ltd.

We will commence service on June 17th this year at 0900 hrs. I have accepted the full-time position of President and Chief Operating Officer and have moved to Victoria, B.C.

Unfortunately the 614 is far too heavy for the beautiful 100 year-old trestles on the island and thus can not run there.

We felt that it would be unfair to continue to hold on to the 614 with all of our time tied up getting the new company running and that in respect to the engine and her legion of loyal fans that a sale through D. F. Barnhardt & Associates would see her go to a new owner with the time to put her to work on the mainline.

The auction (being done with the active support and cooperation of our good friends at NJ Transit) will take place in July 2000 at NJ Transit's Meadowlands Maintenance Complex (MMC). Only Pre-Qualified buyers will be allowed to attend and participate at the auction.

On a personal note, I must confess to you that this was a tough decision for me as 614 has become very much as a daughter to me and my memories of the honor of being a part of her active career since we restored her in 1980 will always be a highlight of my life. I also take this chance to say many thanks to all our loyal fans and a special thanks to John Harmon, Jack McDougal and Karen Bendix for their unwavering support and hard work.

Ross Rowland
Chairman & C.E.O.
Iron Horse Enterprises, Inc."

For the record, operations in 2000 by the Pacific Wilderness Railway will be diesel-hauled; steam operations should commence in 2001 (see the archive).

There you have it, folks - straight from the er, Iron Horse's mouth. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Now, back to your respective opinion boards to talk about it . . .  
7 March 2000

Tennessee Valley RR Museum

Canadian Pacific's 2816 page 
(ex-CPR 4-6-4 2816) The wheels from Canadian Pacific's Hudson will be coming south for refurbishing. TVRM will be performing a number of operations on the driver sets, from detailed inspection to truing up of the various surfaces.

One of 10 Class H1B Hudsons built in 1930, no. 2816 was repurchased by CPR from Steamtown in 1997. CPR is funding the overhaul of 2816 for corporate PR duty, and is estimating a July 2000 return to service. The boiler is currently in Portland, Oregon, receiving its inspection and overhaul (see the archive. (Thanks to Mark Ray.)  
6 March 2000

Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village 
(A new Steam Roundhouse) Work is nearing completion on Greenfield Village's replica of the Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukee six-stall roundhouse that once stood in nearby Marshall, Michigan.  
The DT&M Marshall Roundhouse in the 1880s.  Photo courtesy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

The DT&M Marshall Roundhouse in the 1880s. Photo courtesy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.   
Paired with a 1901 turntable and backshop machinery gathered from numerous sources, the roundhouse will be open for tours through the backshop and repair tracks, where visitors will be able to see repairs being performed on the Museum's eight-locomotive collection, even walking underneath a locomotive through an inspection pit.

The new structure contains some components (window frames, roof trusses) salvaged from the original structure.   
The DT&M Marshall Roundhouse reconstruction.  Photo courtesy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

Progress on the recreated Marshall Roundhouse is evident in this January photo. Photo courtesy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.   
As the Museum's C&O 2-6-6-6 "Allegheny" No. 1601 is a bit large and modern for this turn-of-the-century reconstruction, it will be populated with a New York Central 4-4-2, a Quincy & Torch Lake RR Mason 0-6-4T, and also house the attraction's operating fleet, including an 0-4-0 converted into a 4-4-0.

Congratulations to Greenfield Village on completing this project, and here's hoping this recreation lives up to its potential as an educational tool. (Thanks to Andrew Johnson.)  
5 March 2000

4449 web site 
(ex-SP 4-8-4 4449) Thre's good news and bad news on the Daylight front. The excursions from Portland Oregon planned for "Daylight" 4449 have been cancelled or postponed, but other operations are in the planning stages.

The 3-4 June circle trip over Stampede Pass is postponed until October due to a lack of overnight accomodations in the Yakima, WA, area. The 10-11 June trips to Wishram have been cancelled as well.

However, 4449 will be powering the BNSF "Employee Appreciation Special" in July for two weeks. This trip is rescheduled from last spring (see the archive), and the schedule is being determined now. 4449 will PROBABLY appear in BNSF black as planned last year for these trips. (Thanks to Rollin Bredenberg and Larry Miller.)  
2 March 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad 
(C&TS RR) As expected, the C&TS Commission formally awarded a five-year operating contract to the Friends of the C&TS in a Commission meeting yesterday.

The Friends have set up a separate not-for-profit corporation to operate the railroad. Incorporated as the "Rio Grande Railway Preservation Corporation," the new company is controlled and funded by the Friends. "We as the RGPRC look forward to running the railroad, and continuing its traditions," Dick Cowles, Treasurer of the Friends and of RGRPC, said before the meeting. RGRPC will continue to use the "Cumbres & Toltec" name, and expects to name a General Manager within days.

At least one spurned bidder is threatening legal action. Robert Stetson, principal of the San Juan Mountain RR Co., whose bid was rejected in January by the Commission, held a press conference just prior to the Commission meeting to announce that he plans to seek an injunction preventing RGRPC from operating the railroad. Mr. Stetson, or someone claiming to be him, has also been a semi-regular in the "Narrow Gauge Dead Goat Saloon" discussion board (you do NOT want to know, trust me), and posted the following there: " . . . should they, (the Commission) award the contract to operate the railroad to the FRIENDS group, we will file suit in the courts to seek injuctive relief from that decision and will work out the situation through the courts."  
2 March 2000

D. F. Barnhardt & Associates 
(ex-C&O 4-8-4 614) You know, I never really considered it newsworthy. But you obviously do - I've gotten more mail on the news that 614 is up for auction than any other subject since this web site debuted last year. This isn't really news: word has been out for several weeks now, since D. F. Barnhardt's mailing started appearing in mailboxes. And I didn't see much newsworthy in 614 being OFFERED for sale; a completed transaction is another matter.

This much is obvious: Ross Rowland, sole owner of 614 (he did sell an interest in it some time ago, but has regained sole title), has placed the locomotive up for auction in May. That does NOT mean it will be sold. There's no mention of the reserve price, and the auction may result in a no-sale. Or Mr. Rowland may be serious about selling: word is he is living full-time in the Vancouver area preparing the Vancouver Island tourist operation for startup this year.

How will it affect the Vancouver Island operation? Not at all, as far as I can see, unless Mr. Rowland chooses to invest the proceeds from a sale into it. I never heard any serious plans to take the locomotive to Canada.

And that's about it. Should you have any more information, feel free to drop me a note; I'll share it with the class.  
1 March 2000 
(SteamCentral) The updates this month are very interesting, but first a plug for the front page. This month's "cover photo" is actually five rotating views of just a few of the many folks who have kept steam running over the years. From the glory of a 4-6-6-4 at speed to the drudgery of cleaning out smokeboxes and filling sand domes, if you usually bypass the home page reset your bookmark for a few days until you see all five. You may see someone you know - and you may even see yourself.

Now for the content updates. Scott Lindsay of Steam Operations Corporation has favored us with a few photos of his work on Nevada Northern 4-6-0 93, and Wayne Laepple has sent in some photos of the extensive work being done at Steamtown to return ex-PRR K4s 4-6-2 1361 to service; you'll find them on the Tutorial page, with more to come later. And Steve Lee of UP infamy has written a few words on the changes to 49CFR230, the inspection and maintenance standards for steam locomotives running in the USA. You'll find his take on things in the Opinion section.

Now, some news . . .  
1 March 2000
United Kingdom

Swanage Railway 
(ex-BR 4-6-2 35027 "Port Line") Following up on an earlier story (see below), "Port Line" arrived at the Swanage Railway last Friday, and has been placed on display in the Swanage station until she gets her turn in the shop. After some boiler work is done, 35027 will operate at Swanage for a year. After that she'll be ready for a heavy overhaul, but hopefully not before a lineup with little sister 34028 "Eddystone," under overhaul at Swanage, can be arranged. (Thanks to Andrew P. M. Wright.)   
Catching the Glint at Norden, 25 February 2000.  Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright.  Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.

35027 being unloaded at Norden. Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.   
Cab view at Norden, 25 February 2000.  Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright.  Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.

A look into 35027's cab. Note that the driver/engineer operates from the left; the locomotive features vacuum brakes, not air brakes. Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.   
At Swanage, 26 February 2000.  Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright.  Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.

You've seen them here on trucks, and taken apart; now here's a whole one. Aren't they handsome locomotives? Photo by Andrew P. M. Wright. Copyright 2000 Andrew P. M. Wright, all rights reserved.  
1 March 2000
(2-8-0 1382) Word is coming out of Britain that MINAZ (the Cuban Ministry of Sugar) 2-8-0 1382, a 36" gauge Baldwin product of 1915 stationed at at sugar mill 105 ("Augusto CÚsar Sandino"), suffered a boiler explosion last week. "As far as we could tell it had happened last Friday (25 February). No one was killed but two (presumably the crew) were said to be gravely injured.

"The accident was at the first loader away from the mill and the front tube-plate and the boiler barrel as far back as the dome is completely detached from the rest of the loco which is off the rails but upright. The tender was on the track and was dragged back to the sidings just before the mill while we were there by the "wrecking crew" that came out to pick up the fittings and copper pipe.

The described damage would NOT be caused by low water. It sounds very similar to the boiler explosion of #1542 in 1987 and I examined this boiler shortly after the explosion. In that case the boiler casing just behind the riveted seam to the front flue sheet had been eaten away by 70 years of untreated water and the shell ruptured along this vertical line and also split lengthwise back to the first seam in a T (on its side) pattern. The description of #1382 also sounds like a barrel failure."  
24 February 2000

Mid-Continent Railway Museum 
(ex-C&NW 4-6-0 1385) The overhaul of no. 1385, reported here in November (see the archive), is progressing. At present the loco is being stripped for boiler work by Becker Boiler of Sun Prairie, WI, which should be complete in the spring.   
C&NW 1385 at North Freedom, WI, 20 February 2000.  Photo by Jeff Terry.  Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.

1385 at North Freedom, WI, 20 February 2000. Photo by Jeff Terry. Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.   
Once the boiler work is done, MCRM shop forces will reassemble the locomotive and perform some running gear work before the locomotive is returned to service in August. (Thanks to Jeff Terry.)  
24 February 2000

Mid-Continent Railway Museum 
(ex-Polson Logging 2-8-2 no. 2) An old friend showed up in a new dress at this year's Mid-Continent Railway Museum "Snow Train" weekend. MCRM old-timer Saginaw Timber no. 2 is now lettered for her third owner, and sports a varnished wood pilot that is a thing of beauty.   
Polson Logging no. 2 at North Freedom, WI, 20 February 2000.  Photo by Jeff Terry.  Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.

Polson Logging no. 2 at North Freedom, WI, 20 February 2000. Photo by Jeff Terry. Copyright 2000 Jeff Terry, all rights reserved.   
No. 2 was built for Saginaw Timber Co. by Baldwin in 1912, and later sold to Northwest Lumber Co. In 1929 it was purchased by Polson, later merged into Rayonier Corp. No. 2 worked until 1962, when it was acquired by the Illinois Railway Museum. It has been at MCRM since 1982, when Mr. Skip Lichter purchased the engine from IRM and restored to it's "Baldwin factory photo" appearance. It's been a regular performer there since, Its identity change is apparently something of a "last hurrah" before its flue time expires. Good idea - paint scheme variations are common in the UK as a way of both showcasing a locomotive's history and maintaining interest. We should consider doing this more. (Thanks to Jeff Terry.)  
21 February 2000 (Updated 22 February)
(ex-RDG 4-8-4 2100) Tom Payne's T1, now known as "Ferroequus 2100," made test runs in the yard in St. Thomas, Ontario, on Sunday 20th, and was scheduled on an all-day test run over the Canadian National today to Windsor, ON (across the river from Detroit).

Unfortunately, just 8 miles into the trip, the pin bushing on the right 3rd driver overheated, and the test run was truncated.   
2100 near St. Thomas, Ontario, 21 February 2000.  Photo by Rob Sterne.  Copyright 2000 Rob Sterne, all rights reserved.

2100 near St. Thomas, Ontario, 21 February 2000. Photo by Rob Sterne. Copyright 2000 Rob Sterne, all rights reserved.   
I've also received a 25-second video of crews servicing the 2100 Sunday night after test runs in the yard. You can download it using the link at left.  
17 February 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal Article 
(C&TS RR) In Wednesday's Commission meeting, proposals to operate the C&TS were submitted by the White Pass & Yukon and the Friends of the C&TS. After discussion the Commission rejected the WP&Y proposal, and asked for additional information from the Friends on their bid. Discussions will be held between the Friends and the Commission with a view toward clearing up some concerns and progressing toward contract negotiations.

The Commission's lawyers also rejected an appeal by John Reed's Rail Ventures, Inc., over rejection of his company's bid. Robert Stetson's San Juan Mountain Railroad Co. also filed an appeal which the Commission has not responded to, and promises a legal battle.  
16 February 2000
United Kingdom

Swanage Railway 
(ex-BR 4-6-2 35026 "Port Line") An incredible 30.5 Southern Railway-design Pacifics survived into preservation in England. (30.5, you ask? 35029 "Ellerman Lines" is a sectioned display at the National Railway Museum.) Ten have seen duty since the last fires were dropped on the "West Country," "Battle of Britain," and "Merchant Navy" classes in 1967. Three - 34027 "Taw Valley," 35005 "Canadian Pacific," and 35028 "Clan Line" - are currently certified to operate on British main lines. Three more = 34081 "92 Squadron," 34101 "Hartland," and 34105 "Swanage" are in service on preserved lines. Sixteen more - like 34016 "Bodmin", 34028 "Eddystone", and 34067 "Tangmere" are under overhaul in some form.

Another of the sixteen, 35027 "Port Line," will be moved this month from its current home on the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex to a new base on the Swanage Railway in Dorset. No firm date has been set for its return to service, but the Swanage stable continues to grow.

The Swanage Railway was also recently granted a permanent increase to the maximum weight allowed on its line. Coupled with plans to reconnect the isolated branch to the British rail network in 2001, and the resort town of Swanage may once again see summer excursions pulled by Pacifics arriving from London. (Thanks to Andrew Wright.)  
15 February 2000

International Working Steam Locomotives 
(Western Railway YP Pacifics) Updating a story from last year, the two metre-gauge Pacifics built by Vulcan Locomotive Works in England (2257 in 1956, 2684 in 1967) and purchased by Henry Posner's Rail Development Corporation are being transferred to Kandla Port in India for transport to an undisclosed location. However, the Argentine railway company of Tranex Turismo S.A. has been involved in the transaction and subsequent overhaul of the two locomotives, so it's a fair bet that the locos are headed for one of the RDC properties in South America, where they will be regauged to 36 inches and converted to oil firing. (Thanks to Rob Dickinson, Hugh Odom and Trevor Heath.)  
14 February 2000
United Kingdom

Great Central Railway 
(ex-BR O4 2-8-0 63601) After a three-year overhaul resulting from some very innovative fundraising, the last remaining "O4" 2-8-0 in the UK is now back in service.  
63601 at Swithland, Leicestershire, UK, January 2000.  Photo by Nigel Wood.  Copyright 2000 Nigel Wood, all rights reserved.

BR 63601 at Swithland, Leicestershire, UK, January 2000. Photo by Nigel Wood. Copyright 2000 Nigel Wood, all rights reserved.   
Built in 1911 as Great Central Railway K8 102, this class of locomotive became the standard freight locomotive on the Great Central, which became part of the London and North Eastern during the 1922-1923 Grouping. These locomotives, called "Tinies" by GCR / LNER / BR employees, also saw use on the Great Western during and after WWI, and many of them were sent to France during the 1944 invasion. In the Postwar years the GC main line from London to Nottingham, Sheffield, and Manchester was the regular haunt of O4s as well as "A3s" like "Flying Scotsman." 63601 was acquired in 1963 by the National Railway Museum, and spent 30 years in storage around the country.

The Great Central Railway PLC was formed in 1976 to acquire a portion of the original Great Central main line, downgraded or abandoned for its entire length in the 1960s. To date the line is perhaps the most awesome "restoration" in the world - by June the nine miles main line will be signalled double track, with freight sidings and intermediate stations. Eventually the whole railroad could be restored from Leicester to near Nottingham. "Gala" events such as the recent January 29-30 event feature demonstration freight trains, Travelling Post Office runs, and switching in the freight sidings - the whole railway experience, not just a train ride.

In 1997 the Main Line Steam Trust, the support organization for the GCR, donated 25,000 Pounds to a restoration fund. "Steam Railway" magazine took a leading role, and eventually its readers donated another 55,000 pounds (about $80,000). Auctions of GCR memorabilia and original artwork were held; "SR" Editor Peter Kelly led a "bike-a-thon" from John O' Groats to Lands End; Hoskin & Oldfield brewery created "O4 Ale," and donated roughly 50% of every sale to the fund.

GCR had hoped to have the locomotive serviceable in 1999, the centenary of the original Great Central, but delays kept the locomotive from debuting during Christmas season. It finally entered traffic during last month's gala, hauling both passenger and freight trains. No doubt it will be a very popular locomotive for private freight charters once it acquires a coat of grime.

Now, will someone convince Tony Marchington to let "60103" return for an encore? I've got my flight reserved . . . see you at Swithland. (Thanks to David Rogers, Richard Drew, Nigel Wood and Jonathon Horrocks.)  
13 February 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal article  
(C&TS RR) At its board meeting in Albuquerque on Saturday, the Friends of the C&TS voted unanimously to submit a proposal to operate the 64-mile railroad as invited to by the C&TS Commission. Presumably the proposal will be discussed at the Commission's next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday 16th at 4:00pm in Chama. This does NOT mean the 1500-member support group will get the operating contract, but they are apparently the only group invited to submit a proposal that is doing so.

Since the Commission rejected the bids of Rail Ventures and San Juan Mountain, Rail Ventures leader John Reed has filed an appeal with the Commission, and San Juan Mountain head Robert Stetson promises to follow suit. Appeals will be addressed at the Wednesday meeting as well.

SteamCentral has also learned that Lindsey Ashby, operator of the Georgetown Loop Railroad and the Canon City & Royal Gorge Railroad, has been lobbying quietly to be named operator of the railroad on a "cost-plus" basis. Ashby's company expressed interest in the property in November, but subsequently chose not to submit a bid. Ashby's company would no doubt be a capable operator, but a "cost-plus" arrangement with the Commission would require the States to guarantee the financial success of the railroad, something not likely in either legislature.  
11 February 2000

Alberta Railway Museum 
(ex-CN 4-6-0 1392) Built for the Canadian Northern in 1913, no. 1392 is getting new rod brass and a new jacket over the winter after passing a boiler examination and hydro test. No. 1392 operates during the year at the Alberta Railway Museum near Edmonton, also home to Northern Alberta Railways 2-8-0 73 (not operational). As one of only two Canadian National steam locomotives operating in Canada (the other being 4-8-2 6060, also in Alberta), 1392 is pretty rare; it might be nice to think of a meet between 1392 and Ohio Central's 1551 some day in the future. (Thanks to Terry Wolfe.)  
7 February 2000
United Kingdom


Vintage Carriages Trust 
("Bellerophon") After killing the Chimera and the Amazons, this locomotive . . . what's that? Oh - my mistake. (Blush!) Start again:

This colliery switcher, NAMED after the Greek hero who rode Pegasus, will be on the road quite a bit this year, according to Locowatch.

Built in 1874 for use at the Haydock Colliery in England, this 0-6-0T worked until 1964 for the colliery (and for the National Coal Board after Nationalization in 1949), and in that year was sold and brought to the Worth Valley Railway. Given a thorough overhaul between 1981 and 1985, "Bellerophon" is a celebrity in the UK railway world (it's one of the earliest locomotives built with piston valves), and will be one of the participants in the Millennium Cavalcade of Steam in August.

But before then, the locomotive will be steamed at special events in the Netherlands and Belgium. It will appear at the Maldegem Steam Center in Belgium 39 April - 1 May, and at the Stichting Railway Museum in Haaksbergen from 1 June to 9 July. If you get a chance to see this little jewel in action, by all means do. (You can also get a glimpse at some of the Vintage Carriages Trust's other equipment on the UK Travel page - the carriages in the very last photo.) (Thanks to Locowatch.)  
6 February 2000

Tweetsie Railroad

Little River Locomotive 
(ex-WP&Y 2-8-2 190) Progress continues on Tweetsie Railroad's ex-White Pass MacArthur, receiving a full overhaul this winter.  
Tweetsie 190 in the Tweetsie shops in Boone, NC, February 2000. Photo by Ken Riddle.  Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.

Tweetsie 190 in the Tweetsie shops in Boone, NC, February 2000. Photo by Ken Riddle. Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.   
Once 190 is back in service in May or June, Tweetsie will have two engines overhauled within the last year to the new FRA rules, ready for years of service. (Last year's overhaul of 4-6-0 no. 12 was top-to-bottom as well; see the archive.) 190 will be painted in the "Southern Railway Green" used by the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad in the 1930s and 1940s, and reapplied to no. 12 in 1992. While no one will mistake the Tweetsie Railroad for anything but a very popular amusement park, the shop that holds it together is one of the top places in the USA today to get work done, and it's not too uncommon to see standard gauge loco parts in the shop for attention. You can follow the entire rebuild from a link on the Tutorial page to Ken Riddle's Little River Locomotive website.

By the way, Ken also sent a photo of the North American Rayon fireless featured in the 27 January news story you'll want to see; scroll down and take a look. (Thanks to Ken Riddle.)  
4 February 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Albuquerque Journal article

Denver Post article 
(C&TS RR) On Monday, the C&TS Commission's Evaluation Committee contacted several organizations that expressed interest in the C&TS RFP but chose not to bid. It also contacted the Friends of the C&TS and invited them to submit a proposal for operating the railroad.

At Wednesday's Commission meeting in Antonito, Colorado, the Evaluation Committee reported that with the exception of the Friends, everyone contacted declined to submit a proposal. This may lead to the Friends of the C&TS operating the railroad this year.

Friends President Terri Shaw says that the Friends would set up a separate, not-for-profit corporation to operate the railroad. Management structure would be similar to previous operators: an on-site General Manager and staff, all paid. The operating entity would be separate from the Friends' extraordinary "work sessions" held each summer. A substantial amount of seed money has been pledged to be used (in conjunction with monies to come from State and Federal government sources) in returning the line to good condition.

The Friends have already contributed substantially to the continued operation of the railroad, putting about $100,000 into keeping the shop open this winter. Some employees are reportedly quite pleased at the prospect of the Friends as Operator, and have expressed more confidence in the organization than in any of the previous bidders.

Several area newspapers are reporting the story, and most have at least one fact wrong, so take them with a grain of salt. But it appears a solution may be at hand for this line's woes.  
3 February 2000

Ohio Central Railroad

Union Pacific Railroad

Union Pacific Historical Society 
(Mainline Steam) The summer steam season is beginning to shape up, and it's looking good.

Word out of Ohio is that Jerry Jacobson has shouted the railroad equivalent of "Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!" in hopes of getting 6325 ready for a 3 June 2000 outging for the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association. The 4-8-4 will power the train westbound, while the Ohio Central's F-units will power the eastbound run; photo runbys will be scheduled in each direction. Of course, there's still the possibility that Ohio Central's freight growth will continue to cause delays in the steam shops, but keep a good thought.

Out west, Union Pacific informed the UPHS last Monday that their trip request for a Cheyenne - Laramie excursion has been approved, and is scheduled for Saturday, 15 July. 3985 will power a seven-car train for the group. Join the UPHS to get your ticket on the trip, the first fantrip over Sherman Hill in five years.

3985 will also power the annual Denver Post "Cheyenne Frontier Days" excursion on 22 July before heading to Los Angeles, California with "just enough train for brakes" for the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for 14-17 August. (The UP's business car fleet will be taken to California separately.)

Get details on these and other trips on the Schedules Page.  
1 February 2000 
(ex-SP 2-8-0 2706) No. 2706 has a new home. Purchased last October by John Manley, the engine has been moved to the Oakland Terminal Railway for restoration to operation. Manley, a participant in five other locomotive restorations (including SP 4-6-2 2467, returned to service last summer), estimates four years and US$150,000 will be needed before 2706 steams again.  SP2706 being prepared for the move from Santa Cruz to Oakland, CA.  Photo courtesy the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

SP2706 being prepared for the move from Santa Cruz to Oakland, CA. Photo courtesy the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

SP2706 being prepared for the move from Santa Cruz to Oakland, CA. Photos courtesy the Santa Cruz Sentinel.   
No. 2706 was retired from active service in 1957, and sat in San Francisco's Bayshore yard until 1963, when it was given to the City of Watsonville, CA. It was displayed there in Ramsay Park until 1989, when the city sold the locomotive to "The Santa Cruz County Railfan Community," headed by Rick Hamman. Mr. Hamman's Sierra Pacific Coast Railway Corp. had plans to run 2706 between Olympia and Santa Cruz.

Thursday's move was made in two pieces after the boiler was lifted from the frame. Still to come are the engine's tender as well as the tender from SP 0-6-0 1298, also displayed in Santa Cruz and acquired by 2706's previous owner. (Thanks to Jeff Badger and the Santa Cruz Sentinel.)  
31 January 2000

Tarantula Train

Bud Kennedy Column 
(ex-SP 4-6-0 2248) According to at least one source, the Tarantula Train's steam engine is down for the count. Out of service since 16 January for unspecified FRA violations, it doesn't seem that the engine, dubbed "Puffy" by some misguided soul, will be returning to service soon, and some say it won't return at all.

And despite what you may have heard, there IS such a thing as negative publicity - and Coe's getting a lot of it lately. Fort Worth "Star-Telegram" columnist Bud Kennedy savaged Coe officials in a Friday column, openly questioning Coe's statement that it will return 2248 to service in April. Among his points: no shop facility and no money. Coe manager Dennis Larson's reply? "We'll build a shop . . . no problem" and "Something about a flue, that's what it will take . . . [cost is] not a factor."

Reportedly, local FRA officials have stated privately that the engine needs flues, a rear flue sheet, and tender wheel work before it returns to service: one employee estimates the cost at $150,000. And thanks to soured relations with both FRA and host railroad Fort Worth and Western, Coe isn't likely to get any benefit of the doubt - or flue extensions.

We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Jim Hollis and Railspot.)  
29 January 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad 
(C&TS RR) And then there were none.

In a meeting today, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission rejected the remaining two bidders for the C&TS operating contract, an indication that despite two extensions to the deadline, neither Rail Ventures nor San Juan Mountain RR Co. were able to convince the commission that they were up to the challenge of keeping a mountain railroad solvent. What now? Commission Executive Director Leo Schmitz was authorized to explore other options, including the Commission running the railroad, contracting with a railroad operator, or "any other option he sees fit."  
27 January 2000
(ex-NARCO 0-6-0F 1) It lasted longer than the much-celebrated Northwestern Steel & Wire scrap-worthy engines, ignored because it is a fireless. But North American Rayon Corporation's no.1, possibly the last steam locomotive in regular service in the USA, is to be preserved, ending a year in which it looked like the engine would be scrapped.   
NARCO 1 and ET&WNC 207 (ex-SOU 630) at Bemberg, TN, in the 1960s.  Photo courtesy Ken Riddle.  Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.

NARCO 1 and ET&WNC 207 (ex-SOU 630) at Bemberg, TN, in the 1960s. Photo courtesy Ken Riddle. Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.   
NARCO 1 at Bemberg, TN, 1999.  Photo by Ken Riddle.  Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.

NARCO 1 sitting at Bemberg, TN, in 1999. Photo by Ken Riddle. Copyright 2000 Ken Riddle, all rights reserved.   
Built by Porter in 1936, no. 1 operated as the plant switcher until 1992, and could be photographed easily meeting the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railway trains bringing raw materials to the plant. During its time in service it was maintained by ET&WNC shop forces, and received its last thorough overhaul in 1966. By 1992 the ET&WNC's successor, the East Tennessee Railway, took over the switching functions even as the plant was slowly downsized, then closed.

Last year NARCo offered no. 1 to anyone willing to take her off the property. Luckily the scrapping deadline passed with no action, and early this year the Carter County Chamber of Commerce took title to the engine. It will be repainted into dark green with gold trim, which it wore long before its Bicentennial scheme was applied in 1975. After work is completed it will be moved to a display location at the Carter County Chamber of Commerce's Visitor Center in Elizabethton. (Thanks to Ken Riddle.)  
25 January 2000

MidContinent Railway Museum 
(ex-C&NW 4-6-0 1385) C&NW 1385 is well on its way to being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This nomination is an outgrowth of the Museum's TEA21 grant application. The nomination must be forwarded to the Federal level, which will review the application (and hopefully approve it). Congratulations to MCRM - 1385 will no doubt join ex-SOU 4501 and several others on the register. (Thanks to Bill Burhmaster.)  
23 January 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR 
(C&TS Railroad) As expected, the C&TS Commission did not name a new operator during its meeting on Saturday. Chippewa Northwestern's bid was rejected, and Rail Ventures and San Juan Mountain Co. (see below) were asked for more information, to be provided before another meeting next Saturday (the 29th). According to the advertised schedules, a best and final offer from each bidder is expected by Friday, and an announcement about whether either will get the concession made on the 29th.  
21 January 2000

Tennessee Valley RR Museum 
(Wheels . . . ) The shop at TVRM is getting very crowded these days. In addition to the evaluations being done on ex-Kentucky & Tennessee 2-8-2 10 and ex-Southern 2-8-0 630, and the routine maintenance for ex-US Army 2-8-0 610, driver sets from ex-SLSF 4-8-2 1522 (see the archive) are close to completion by Scott Lindsay of Steam Operations Corp. Tim Sposato and Scott Czigans of the Ohio Central have been in Chattanooga as well, working on the drivers of their ex-Grand Trunk 4-8-4 no. 6325 (see the archive). And two driver sets from 2-8-0 no. 203, being overhauled by the Gulf & Ohio (yada yada yada . . .) have finally arrived in Chattanooga for attention from TVRM shop forces. It's a good thing 2719's drivers are back in Wisconsin where they belong!   
Wheels from 1522 and 6325 at TVRM.  Photo by Steve Freer.  Copyright 2000 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.

Wheels from 1522 and 6325 at TVRM. Photo by Steve Freer.
Copyright 2000 Steve Freer, all rights reserved.  As the photo shows, however, it's becoming a community effort. Scott Lindsay is actually working on 6325's drivers, and Scott Czigans and Tim Sposato (hiding behind the steel) are working on a 1522 wheelset. Scott L. will probably pitch in and help on 203's drivers as well at some point. And of course TVRM shop forces put in time on all the projects.

The wheel lathe is also finished, and 1522's drivers have already been chucked and the tires turned. They'll soon be on their way back to St. Louis for installation.

Has it really been almost twenty years since Tim and Scott L. were bunking in an SLCA baggage-dorm parked in front of the Southern steam shop in Irondale, AL while working to return ex-N&W 4-8-4 611 to service? My, how time flies . . . (Thanks to Steve Freer and Scott Lindsay.)  
20 January 2000

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR

Albuquerque Journal Article 
(C&TS Railroad) There is mixed news on the C&TS this week.

The good news is that shop work on the locomotives continues. Engines 463, 484, and 489 received flue extensions after their November inspection (see the archive), and 497 is getting a much-needed and thorough running gear overhaul. 489 and 463 will get similar treatment soon, as will 487. 488 is not receiving attention at this time, though it is the logical recipient of the superheater tubes ordered by the Friends of the C&TS in October (see the archive). This is a significant accomplishment in light of the tight financial situation faced by the Commission. The Friends' "Ralph Flowers Locomotive Fund" is approaching $70,000 in donations (if that number has not already been exceeded), and an emergency loan from the state of New Mexico is helping as well.

Colorado Commissioner Wayne Quinlan has been replaced by Carol Salisbury, an active member of the Friends.

The bad news is that the two most qualified bidders, White Pass & Yukon and the Santa Fe Land & Cattle Co. (a subsidiary of the Santa Fe Southern, which operates between Lamy and Santa Fe, NM) have dropped out of the bidding leaving two original bidders and a new bid submitted by the "San Juan Railroad," apparently headed by Bob Stetson. A Commission meeting on Saturday will further illuminate whether any of the remaining bidders will get a contract to operate the railroad, and a final decision is expected at a Commission meeting on the 29th. We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Gerald Blea, Roger Hogan, Sam March, John Pritchard and Terri Shaw.)  
19 January 2000

Austin American Statesman 
(ex-T&NO 2-8-2 786) The town of Cedar Park, TX, the starting point for many Austin & Texas Central trips, has offered $100,000 toward the overhaul of ex-Southern Pacific 2-8-2 786. After the locomotive was sidelined last summer with cracks in the cylinder casting (see the archive), the Austin Steam Train Association decided to perform a full overhaul (that would be needed soon anyway) along with the needed repairs.

The money is contingent on the city of Austin appropriating money for the repairs as well; ASTA has asked for $250,000 from the city. Cedar Park also agreed to encumber $30,000 in tourism taxes for the overhaul. The town of Burnet (the turn-around point for most excursions) and the Lower Colorado River Authority have pledged $14,000 and $25,000, respectively.

If ASTA is lucky enough to get everything it's asked for, over $400,000 will be available for 786's overhaul. (Thanks to Tom Lang.)  
13 January 2000

Old Britannia Web Site

Pete Hinchliffe's Britannia site 
(ex-BR 4-6-2 70000 "Britannia") One of the finest-looking Pacifics ever built has changed hands, and is headed for the main line once again. Music producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman has purchased the 80% ownership in British Railways' "Britannia" class 4-6-2 "Britannia" formerly owned by Rick Edmondson, chairman of Resco Railways, LTD.

The "Britannia" class Pacifics were the first of the "BR Standard" locomotive designs introduced after the UK's railways were nationalized in 1948. No. 70000 rolled out of the former-LMS Crewe Works in 1951 - the name "Britannia," formerly carried by "Jubilee" class 4-6-0 45700 (renamed "Amethyst"), was chosen to evoke the spirit of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Assigned to mainline duties all over England, they were equally at home on expresses out of Liverpool Street, working a freight with a 2-6-4T banker from Tebay over Shap, or hauling a "boat train" to Holyhead or Dover. No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" was used on the last main line steam working in August 1968.

"Britannia's" last main line outing, in March 1997, ended in failure. Booked for a Crewe - Settle - Carlisle working, the locomotive had to be replaced at Hellifield (near Settle), roughly half-way. As the locomotive was near the end of its main line boiler certificate, it was withdrawn from service and moved to the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough. It's been stored there awaiting its ten-year "heavy general" overhaul.

Waterman's non-profit trust also either owns or leases three other steam locomotives (one of which - LNWR 0-8-0 9395, owned by the National Railway Museum, is nearing service), and "Britannia" will receive attention as soon as 9395 is finished. Said to require a $300,000 overhaul, Waterman's goal is to have 70000 ready for service by Easter 2001, but acknowledges delays are possible. The overhaul will be performed at The Railway Age, a heritage site near the erecting halls in Crewe where "Britannia" was constructed. (Thanks to "Steam Railway" and Tony Wood.)  
12 January 2000
(Everett RR 2-6-2 11) Probably better known as Morehead & North Fork no. 11, this 2-6-2 is getting a new home. Stored for years at Williams Grove, PA (where ex-PRR 0-4-0 643 runs occasionally), no. 11 will be moved to a senior citizen's center built around the relocated freight and passenger depots in Everett, PA.   
no. 11 in Everett, PA, in 1967.  Photo by Joel P. King.  Copyright 2000 Joel P. King, all rights reserved.

Everett Railroad no. 11 in Everett, PA, in 1967. Photo by Joel P. King. Copyright 2000 Joel P. King, all rights reserved.   
Built in 1909 as Kanawha, Glen Jean and Eastern no. 200, Morehead & North Fork acquired the locomotive in 1930 and operated it until 1964. From 1965 to 1970 it operated on the Everett Railroad, a remnant of the Huntington & Broad Top Mountain RR, in tourist service. In 1971 it went to Williams Grove, where it has never operated.

The locomotive will be trucked to Everett, and the boiler will probably be lifted from the frame for the journey.

Don't count on a return to service in Everett - the tracks are now abandoned, and no. 11 is missing a siderod. But display in a railroad setting is preferable to being left derelict in the woods at Williams Grove. (Thanks to Alan Maples.)  
11 January 2000

Mid-Hants Railway 
(ex-BR 4-6-2 34016 "Bodmin") This Southern Railway (UK) rebuilt "West Country" class is getting closer to return to service. Removed from Barry scrapyard in 1972, the locomotive was returned to service in 1979. Out of service for at least a decade now, "Bodmin" is getting a "heavy general" overhaul at the Mid-Hants Railway's Ropley, Hampshire, shop.   
Bodmin at Ropley works, MidHants Railway.  Courtesy MidHants Railway.

Bodmin at Ropley works, MidHants Railway. Courtesy MidHants Railway.  The boiler was overhauled at Roger Pridham's boiler works between July and December, and reattached to the locomotive frame on Christmas Eve. Running gear work is well advanced, and "Bodmin's" axles were the first in the UK to get a magnetic particle inspection to comply with new UK main lines standards.   
Bodmin at Ropley works, MidHants Railway.  Courtesy MidHants Railway.

A 3-cylinder locomotive, the center main rod is counterweighted between the frames. The center Walschaerts valve gear eccentric can be seen attached to the axle to the left of the counterweights. Courtesy the MidHants Railway.   
"Bodmin" should be out on the main line this year, replacing "Standard 5" 4-6-0 73096 (whose boiler certificate expires next month) on the MidHants' Southern Region-liveried main line stock. (Thanks to Tony Wood and the MidHants Railway.)  
11 January 2000


A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

Standard Steam Locomotive Co. 
("LNER" A1 4-6-2 60163 "Tornado") "Tornado," the Pacific being built as the 50th Class "A1" in England, is getting closer to being a "rolling chassis" these days. Crosshead guides (which I believe is the correct English-to-American translation of "slide bar") have been received at the historic Darlington shed where the engine is being assembled from components being built all over England. The guides should be installed by March.

Further motion must be ordered before the running gear is complete, but a look around the Trust's web site will show you just how far they've come. The three cylinders and the wheel centers have been cast, the frames built, and the smokebox rolled. Still to come is the boiler (a $400,000 expenditure) and tender body (the frame from a scrapped LNER locomotive will be reused). The project is being financed by a combination of corporate sponsorship and "covenants" - monthly donations from individuals from all over the world.

This isn't a bunch of dreamers - the Trust is a well-run business, with Gant and PERT charts defining every step of the process and its dependencies. And the A1 Trust isn't the only group looking to build a locomotive in England - the BR Standard Steam Locomotive Company is a coalition of two groups aiming to construct a BR Standard "Clan" class light Pacific, and a 2-6-2 tank. Neither has made the progress shown by the A1 Trust, but one can be optimistic.

Anyone up for building a New York Central Hudson? A Southern railway Ts1 4-8-2? Drop me a note. (Thanks to LocoWatch.)  
10 January 2000

Hagerstown "Herald-Mail"

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad 
(ex-WM 4-6-2 202) According to an editorial in last Thursday's Hagerstown (MD) "Herald-Mail," the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad has proposed leasing the former-WM Pacific displayed in the town's City Park.

Built by Baldwin in 1912, 202 is no stranger to the platforms in Cumberland, where the Western Maryland Scenic originates some 200 excursions each year. Long on display near the historic Hager House in Hagerstown, in 1982 local resident John Long purchased no. 202 from the city and spent thousands of dollars in a cosmetic restoration. The 83-year-old Mr. Long does not appear interested in leasing the locomotive to the WMS.

WMS General Manager Ed Kemmett has offered to lease the locomotive, and provide free rides on the WMS to children from Hagerstown.

Interestingly, "Herald-Mail" editor Bob Macginnis appears to be in favor of the deal: "I can't blame Cumberland for trying. Considering how readily [Hagerstown] has allowed some of its historic buildings to be demolished in the past 12 months - and the apparent citizen disinterest in a plan for a new rail museum here - why shouldn't an outside group that values the region's rail heritage make a bid to lease old No. 202? If it seems like an afterthought to Washington County - and the engine got only a three-word mention in the county's 1998 and 1999 visitors' guides - can you blame some railroad enthusiasts in Cumberland for trying to put it on their tracks?"

A Western Maryland 4-6-2 at Helmstetter's Curve? Carl Franz, reserve me the first two tickets! (Thanks to David Albright.)  
7 January 2000

Gulf & Ohio Railway 
(ex-R&R 2-8-0 203) Well, as reported earlier (see below), Rockton & Rion 203 didn't suffer any damage in the Coster Shop fire in Knoxville, TN, last month. In fact, progress on the engine is such that Mike Green, manager of passenger operations for the Gulf and Ohio Railways, is hoping to bring the locomotive into service in May.   
203 in the G&O shops in Knoxville, TN, December 1999.  Photo by Buddy Mac Stewart.  Copyright 2000 Stewart's Photography, all rights reserved.

203 in the G&O shops in Knoxville, TN, December 1999. Photo by Buddy Stewart. Copyright 2000 Stewart's Photography, all rights reserved.   
The locomotive has passed its FRA boiler inspection. Wheels will be sent to the TVRM shop in Chattanooga for machine work when work on drivers from SLSF 1522 and GTW 6325 are done. The firebox is being converted to burn oil to eliminate the potential of cinders.

Originally, G&O President Pete Claussen indicated the locomotive would be used only in occasional freight service (a G&O web page devoted to 203 has disappeared), but plans now are to offer passenger service on G&O's track from downtown Knoxville. (Thanks to Buddy Stewart.)  
6 January 2000

Tarantula Train 
(Tarantula Train) It appears the demise of the "Tarantula Train," the former Forth Worth and Western RR tourist operation sold to Coe Rail last April, continues. Ex-SP 4-6-0 No. 2248 is scheduled to be out of service in January and February for annual inspection of the lap-seam boiler, and there are predictions that the locomotive will not be granted a flue extension, forcing her out of service for an even longer period. Relations between Coe and the FRA aren't very good anyway these days - on Monday (3rd) all Coe engineers were taken out of service by the agency for various infractions related to testing and training. No passenger train ran at all on Wednesday, and the action is delaying the start of Coe's dinner train operation as well. We'll keep you posted. (Thanks to Jim Hollis and RailSpot.)  
6 January 2000

SP&S 700

SP 4449

OR&N 197

Canadian Pacific Railway 
(Brooklyn Roundhouse) Work has begun reflueing no. 700 using funds received from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust (see the archive). Work should be complete by May. PRPA has no firm plans for operating 700 in 2000 other than another display at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry next December.

The work is being done at the Brooklyn Roundhouse in Portland, OR, which also houses SP 4-8-4 4449 and OR&N (UP) 4-6-2 197. A temporary resident is the boiler of Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816, which was reacquired by CPR from Steamtown and is being returned to service. The remaining work on the locomotive is being done at the British Columbia Railway shops in North Vancouver, BC. CPR hopes to have the locomotive serviceable by July 2000. Fraser River Canyon, anyone? (Thanks to James Abney.)  
5 January 2000

Union Pacific Historical Society  
(UP 4-8-4 844) In response to a rumor that allegedly appeared in the MidContinent Railway Museum's newsletter, the Union Pacific Historical Society has posted a statement from Steve Lee contradicting the assertion that UP 844 will be retired.

Back in the summer, after Lee's steam crew began their inspection of 844, Steve was optimistic that 844 would be back on the road in 2001. But since then the decision has been made to completely replace the firebox, delaying 844's return to service. Bob Krieger has indicated that the money for the work has already been allocated, and Steve confirms that preliminary work has already started.

Serious work will have to wait until after next year's trips with 3985, however. Currently booked to head to Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention in August, 3985 may also perform on a UPHS excursion in July, and the annual Frontier Days train is a possibility as well. (Thanks to the UPHS and Steve Lee.)  
3 January 2000

Swanage Railway 
(ex-BR 2-6-4T 80104) A 23-year-old English man got a nasty Christmas present on Boxing Day (26 December) when he drove his car into the path of a Swanage Railway train pulled by BR "Standard Tank" 80104. The driver was injured, but has been released from hospital.   
Emergency crews respond to the collision. Photo by Nick Hanham.  Courtesy the Swanage Railway.

Emergency crews respond to the collision. Photo by Nick Hanham (the locomotive driver / engineer). Courtesy the Swanage Railway.   
The accident happened at a private crossing as the second train of the day was steaming from Swanage to to Corfe Castle and the Norden park and ride on Sunday, December 26th, 1999. The driver was the only person in the car, and was visiting his girlfriend. None of the 40 train passengers was injured. Had the motorist been using the crossing in the other direction, he might have been killed, as one of 80104's buffers smashed through the passenger side of the car. The car was pushed by the steam locomotive some 100 yards along the track. The driver was released from the wreckage of his vehicle by firemen using hydraulic cutting gear. The car driver, who suffered chest and shoulder injuries, was airlifted to Dorchester Hospital by helicopter.

The only damage to the steam locomotive was its buffer beam steam heat pipe, and a piece of signalling gear, both of which were ripped off.

The Quarr Farm accident happened a couple of hundred yards west of where a Swanage Railway volunteer from Devon committed suicide in front of Thomas The Tank Engine in late October, 1999. (Thanks to Andrew Wright and Nick Hanham.)  
1 January 2000

Wisconsin Southern Railroad 
(ex-SOO 2-8-2 1003) The Wisconsin Southern Railroad has announced plans for its 20th Anniversary celebration in June. Each weekend, a different online town will host displays and perhaps excursions. Soo Line 1003, being stored for the winter at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI, will be featured at one or more of the events, but plans for operations aren't clear. The Mikado will have to get from Green Bay to Milwaukee, Horicon, Janesville, and Madison, though; maybe WSOR will see fit to earn some revenue with the engine on some freight trains. (Something tells me owner Gary Ostrand wouldn't mind.) (Thanks to Rich Young.)   
SOO 1003 near Osceola, WI, August 1998. Photo by John Craft.  Copyright 1999 by John A. Craft, all rights reserved.

SOO 1003 near Osceola, WI, in August 1998, on a special train organized by David Goodheart, Steve Glischinski, Scott Lindsay, and Gary Bensman. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 by John A. Craft, all rights reserved.  
1 January 2000

Doe River Gorge

Little River Locomotive

Tweetsie Railroad 
(ex-Lehigh Stone 2-4-2 No. 799) Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the abandoment of the final segment of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina's narrow gauge main line between Elizabethton, TN and Boone, NC. Many of us have often wondered what would have happened if the ET&WNC had survived longer. Would the Cumbres & Toltec have an eastern rival? Would Hampton or Roan Mountain be another Durango? In "Tweetsie Country," his book about the line, Mallory Hope Ferrell wrote: "The tracks have long been torn up, and their path is kept fresh only by the occasional wanderings of a dairy cow or spring fisherman."

Fortunately, that's not completely true; portions of the formation remain, such as the stone abutments of the covered bridge at Hampton made famous in photos by John Krause. You can drive along "Old Railroad Grade Road" between Blevins and Crabtree. US 19E is built on the old roadbed in places between Roan Mountain and Elk Park. And oddly enough, the rails from Tunnel Two (south of Hampton, at the entrance to the famous Doe River Gorge) to Tunnel Five near Blevins, almost two miles, were relaid in 1968 for the "Doe River Gorge Playland," the first of several unsuccessful tourist ventures to use the trackage. Over the years, as the ties have rotted, the relaid rails have slowly fallen out of gauge, but they've never been removed.   
ET&WNC 4-6-0 11 at Pardee Point 24 September 1950, on a railroad officials farewell trip to Cranberry.

ET&WNC 4-6-0 11 at Pardee Point in the Doe River Gorge 24 September 1950, on a railroad officials farewell trip to Cranberry. Photo from the Cy Crumley Collection, provided by Ken Riddle.   
Danah and I even joked about using lottery proceeds to rebuild the Elizabethton - Roan Mountain segment when we hiked the Gorge in November 1998 with the permission of the Doe River Gorge organization. The organization, which operates an "Outward Bound" - style Christian ministry for young people in the gorge, acquired the trackbed between the US 19E crossing south of Hampton and Tunnel Four when it bought a large parcel of property in the mid-1980s (the former roadbed forms the access road to the property).    
The view looking north from Tunnel Four toward Pardee Point and Hampton.

The view looking north from inside Tunnel Four toward Pardee Point and Hampton.
Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1998 John Craft, all rights reserved.   
The railroad grade forms the main path by which participants gain access to rope bridges, rock climbing, rappelling and whitewater rafting venues. The camp headquarters at the north portal of Tunnel Two features a railroad theme, with campers sleeping in retired Maintenance-of-Way cars and boxcar-inspired cabins. And a steam locomotive (0-4-0T No. 799 (Vulcan 3714, 1926), built for Hummell Ross Fibre, migrating over the years to Lehigh Stone at Lehigh, IL, and becoming a 2-4-2 with tender in a 1968 rebuild) has been on display at the offices and gift shop (partially housed in a Norfolk & Western caboose) since it was used as the power for the "Playland's" trains.    
This tired old thing will be reboilered and christened as ET&WNC 15.

Ex-Lehigh Stone 0-4-0T 799, transformed into a 2-4-2 with a new boiler in 1968, on display at the Doe River Gorge. Photo by John Craft. Copyright 1999 John Craft, all rights reserved.   
Danah and I went back to the gorge this past November to confirm something amazing. During its annual meeting on Thursday, 4 November, the organization announced plans to return No. 799 to service and operate steam-powered trains in the Doe River Gorge. The major partners in this renaissance are the Doe River Gorge organization, the East Tennessee Railway (owners of the standard gauge remnant of the ET&WNC), and the Little River Locomotive Company.

No. 799 will be removed from her display track and transported by road to the East Tennnessee Railway's ex-ET&WNC shop in Johnson City, TN. (ETRY is relaying some third rail in its Johnson City shop area, and offering use of the space free of charge.) A new boiler will be fitted by Ken Riddle's Little River Locomotive Company to replace the rather interesting specimen fitted in Marion, NC in 1968, and running gear work will be performed by the Tweetsie Railroad's shop forces. To cap the project, the whistle from long-departed ET&WNC 0-8-0 No. 7 will be mounted on the rebuilt locomotive, a few cosmetic changes are planned for the locomotive, and it will be christened "ET&WNC 15." (The ETRY shops are not open to visitors.)

Darrell Edwards and Keith Holley of the ETRY have also arranged for some trackwork to be donated, and volunteers from church groups in the east have been doing trackwork on the line for several years now (speeders have already operated over the line). Hundreds of new ties have been installed, and a half-century of tree growth at Pardee Point has been reversed. (The DRG organization is purchasing a 5-ton Plymouth "critter" to help out with track rehab, which will get a new engine donated by the ETRY.)

Financing for the project is coming from several sources. If you would like to contribute to the rehabilitation, send your check to the organization, marked for "RR Improvement," at the address found on the Doe River Gorge web site.

Ken has also acquired ex-Apache Power 0-4-0F No. 5, which will be available for use in the Gorge as well once a new boiler is fabricated and installed.

Plans are to operate for campers with one or two coaches on an occasional basis out to Pardee Point, approximately 1.2 miles; I'm not aware of any plans to offer regular public trips. (Pardee Point is named for Ario Pardee, Jr., a coal magnate who played a role in building both the ET&WNC as well as the East Broad Top in Pennsylvania.) The goal is to make the inaugural run on Monday, 16 October, 2000 - 50 years to the day since 4-6-0 No. 11 powered the last narrow gauge train between Elizabethton and Cranberry.   
After that, who knows? Continuing the rehabilitation to Blevins would require a lot more work - acquisition of the roadbed, extensive repairs to the truss bridge south of Tunnel Four, reopening Tunnel 5, and replacing 300 yards or so of roadbed washed away in a 1998 flood - so it's not very likely at this point. But the way is clear for the Tweetsie Railroad's ex-ET&WNC 4-6-0 no. 12 to return to Pardee Point for a short visit, perhaps pulling the picturesque mail-baggage-coach 15 now being rebuilt at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer. If it happens, SteamCentral will be a sponsor of the event. Ken will post developments on the Little River Locomotive Co. web site - keep an eye out there as well as here. (Thanks to Ken Riddle, Phil Raynes, and Mark Milbourne.)